The last thing that any PS3 owner wants to see:
The "Yellow Light of Death"
Some of you may remember that I wrote about my experiences (and frustrations) with trying to repair or replace a PS3 through Sony last year. It was not a pleasant experience. So when that replacement unit suddenly failed on me a few weeks ago while playing Dark Souls with a "Yellow Light of Death", I was understandably very upset. The system would not even turn back on after the failure occurred. That, combined with the sudden nature of the failure meant that I had no chance to even try backing up the data on the hard drive, let alone uploading any copy-protected save files onto the PSN Cloud. Heck, I couldn't even remove the Dark Souls disc that was now stuck in the drive! What ever happened to good 'ol latch-and-spring lids? You don't have to worry about getting discs stuck in those!
So it seemed that I was up shit creek without a paddle. I already knew, from previous experience, that Sony probably would not fix the console, and would instead just send me a refurbished replacement, and that my hard drive would, therefore, not be useable with the new system. I didn't want to give Sony any more of my money, since it is their bullshit DRM policies that prevent consumers from being able to reliably transfer saves from one system to another, so I decided to try my luck with a local repair shop instead.
Well, that hasn't worked out any better for me. [More]
The NCAA Football 13 demo hit the PSN a few weeks ago, and I managed to play a few games before my PS3 went belly-up with a yellow-light-of-death last night. I can't do a very detailed breakdown of the demo because I don't have my PS3 at the moment in order to continue playing it. Hopefully, I'll get a working PS3 back in a week or two, but I have no guarantee that it will work. So in lieu of a full breakdown, I'll offer some simple observations and impressions.
First and foremost, it has already been announced that NCAA will not be including the new "Infinity Engine" that is being introduced to Madden with the intent of providing real-time physics simulation for collisions. NCAA is due out only about a month before Madden, so it seems like if EA really cared about providing the best game possible, then they would have just delayed the game a few weeks and added this feature to NCAA as well. But no, even though they have no other football game to compete with, and even though the college football season doesn't start till late August, EA insists on releasing the game in mid July. They have essentially relegated this year's NCAA game to being a second-class football game - which is a real shame because the NCAA dev team just seemed to show slightly superior effort that the Madden devs over the previous two years or so.
Unfortunately, if the demo is any indication (but that is the whole point of a demo), the lack of any real-time physics simulation won't be the only thing holding NCAA Football 13 back from greatness this year. The demo itself is a much better demo than what we've been given in the previous year, but the game being demoed doesn't seem that good... [More]
Prometheus is a disaster of almost Phantom Menace proportions. Its script is a comedy of stupid that makes the Three Stooges look like Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein.
This movie lost me completely about 10 or 15 minutes in, when Noomi Rapace's and Logan Marshall-Green's crackpot archaeologist characters (Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Halloway, respectively) are explaining their mission to the newly-awakened crew of the Prometheus. They tell the crew (consisting predominantly of scientists) that they had discovered stone tablets all around the world that depict giant men pointing to a particular constellation in the sky, and that they believe that these tablets constitute an invitation from humanity's extra-terrestrial creators that they should visit them in space. They dismiss the possibility of coincidence by saying that a.) the art lines up exactly, and b.) the particular star cluster was too far away for any of those primitive cultures to have been able to see with the naked eye, and so aliens must have told them. The hypothesis itself doesn't upset me on its own. But when asked by a mohawked, punk geologist what actual evidence they have to believe that aliens had intelligently engineered life on earth, Shaw responds that she has none, but it is what she "chooses to believe".
These two crackpot archeologists' wild-ass hunch, thus became the basis for a trillion-dollar space expedition in which scientists and engineers were drafted into without even being told where they were going or what they were doing.
Now, if this silly setup had ended up being my only complaint with the movie, I'd let it pass, and Prometheus probably could have turned into an excellent science fiction (or space fantasy) movie. Unfortunately, Damon Lindelof's script is unbearably bad, and is completely dependent on every character (despite being scientists, engineers, and a hyper-intelligent andriod) being dumb as a rock. [More]
Fathers in video games don't typically turn out to be very good role models or successful parental figures. Often, they end up being surprise villains, or they turn out to have been neglectful or abusive (physically or emotionally). A lot of times, parents in video games turn into cannon fodder, dying early in the game in order to push the protagonist into his or her heroic role.
Very rarely do you have a father character in a video game who sticks around and actually gives his children any amount of love or support. That's why I think Harry Mason is such a special character in video games, and quite possibly the best video game dad of all time. So this Father's Day, I'd like to take a moment to pay tribute to this wonderfully-designed gold-standard of video game parenting.
Harry Mason goes through hell and puts his life on the line to protect his seven-year-old adopted daughter in quite possibly the most fatherly display of love and dedication that you will find in a video game.
I recently had conversations with an old friend of mine from high school (screenname Hey?Mr.Box!) who had recently played the Silent Hill games for the first time. I expected to hear that his favorite game was Silent Hill 2, and that his favorite character would be James or Pyramid Head. I mean, that's what every Silent Hill fanboy says, right? Personally, I'm fond of Heather from Silent Hill 3, but that's only because I had a huge crush on her when I played the game for the first time. And before you start calling me a perv, I was 17 when that game released!
I was surprised, however, when my friend's favorite character ended up not being James, or Pyramid Head, or even Heather, but rather Heather's father: Harry.
I guess with all the crazy characters that the Silent Hill series is known for, Harry kind of gets lost in the shuffle as being too "normal". But when asked why he liked Harry so much, my friend eloquently responded: "because he's such an awesome dad!"
And you know what, Harry is an awesome dad!... [More]
Recently came across Toronto-based software engineer Alex Curelea's blog, in which he describes the psychology behind why Diablo III may not be as satisfying as Diablo II was. It was a good read, and very quick too.
In the analysis, he compares Diablo fans to monkeys who are rewarded with flavored juice when they pull a lever after a specific sequence of shapes is displayed on screen. Eventually, the monkeys begin to associate the reward with the sequence of shapes, and the reward center of their brain becomes stimulated when the sequence appears, rather than when the actual reward is given later.
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